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This image is making the rounds online and in this month’s comics.  The buzz is about Reggie Hudlin and Ken Lashely’s  new Black Panther comic this coming February.   The twist is that the new Black Panther is female.  Ads featuring possible contenders to replace T’Challa showcase Storm, Monica Rambeau, Sue Richards (The Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four), the Dora Milaje (T’Challa’s elite bodyguards), Shuri (T’Challa’s sister), Echo (from the Avengers) and goddess knows who else (I’ve read rumors of an Elektra ad but I’ve yet to see it).  The only logical possibilities would be Shuri or the Dora Milaje as I have a hard time imagining a non-Wakandan filling such an important role.  It makes no sense at all for Echo or Monica Rambeau take on the mantle because they have their own power set and are not Wakandan either.  Even though Storm once dressed like a Black Panther in battle (in Jason Aaron’s three issue arc of the Secret Invasion crossover), I really see no reason for her to take on her husband’s job.  She’s got enough to do as it is as Queen and as an X-Man).   Ororo does look sexy and svelte in the outfit, however.  A cat suit looks great on her and I like the idea of Storm having claws.  Hardcore X-Men fans might remember this little bit of X-History from a Comic Book Artist interview with legendary artist Dave Cockrum:

“The original black female in the group was to have been called The Black Cat. She had Storm’s costume but without the cape, and a cat-like haircut with tufts for ears. Her power was that she could turn into a humanoid cat or a tabby. She wore a collar with a bell on it. When we came back to the project, after the hiatus, all of a sudden all of these other female cat characters had sprung up—Tigra, The Cat, Pantha—so I figured that we’d better overhaul this one! She wound up getting white hair, the cape, and becoming Storm.”

The image is kind of ironic viewed with that bit of lore, isn’t it?  Well, we still don’t know why T’Challa has decided to pass on his identity.  My bet is on Shuri.

The Storm poster is drawn by J. Scott Campbell.  It is my assumption that the ones below are drawn by Ken Lashley.

The solicitation information is as follows:

BLACK PANTHER #1 (DEC082327)
BLACK PANTHER #1 70TH ANNIVERSARY VARIANT (DEC082311)
Written by REGINALD HUDLIN
Penciled by KEN LASHLEY
Cover by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL
50/50 Cover by KEN LASHLEY
70th Anniversary Variant Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
Rated T+ …$3.99
FOC—1/15/09, On-sale—2/4/09

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